Face
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Face
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December 2nd, 2012 at 2:47:12 PM permalink
Gentlemen, I come to you for some assistance. Some may be familiar with an audit I did on shuffles and the shuffle follow up that I posted here a few years ago. For those who don't care to read, our place instituted a ridiculously long shuffle for what I deemed to be no reason whatsoever, and I went in and did the math, showing just how incredibly damaging it was. As a result, the new shuffle got tossed.

Well, an unintended consequence of this is that every single one of our games, from Casino War to High Limit Blackjack has gone to either ASMs or CSMs. Being a man of common sense and a resistor to sweat, I haven't liked it. But, since it weren't my decision, nor technically my responsibility, there wasn't anything I could do.

Until now. It's been long enough with enough play to go in again and re-do the math, and I hope to show these things aren't worth it. But in order to do so, I need a key piece of information, which I haven't been able to find anywhere else. So - does anyone know what these ASMs and CSMs cost monthly to lease?

I've read all I could find from the Wiz and teliot, but they both focused on end result, how the machines affect the game. Searching web pages of ShuffleMaster and IGT was fruitless. The only thing I've found was from browsing 2+2, but I've found quotes ranging from "$500 a month" to "at least $2,000 a month", which isn't specific or definitive enough to do anything with.

Can anyone help me out? Player or personnel, if anyone has an idea, I'd be glad to hear it. Take advantage of this rare opportunity where "The Dark Side" tries to do something completely pro-player ;)
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Buzzard
Buzzard
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December 2nd, 2012 at 5:11:15 PM permalink
" Tilting at windmills is sometimes used to describe confrontations where adversaries are incorrectly perceived, or to courses of action that are based on misinterpreted or misapplied heroic, romantic, or idealistic justifications. "

I have nothing but admiration for your effort, but you are tilting at windmills. The decision has been made. From my many battles with AT&T managements as a Chief Shop Steward, I can assure you constructive criticism is not welcome.

Even were you to provide evidence that the shufflers were not cost effective , that the revenues gained by more hands dealt were
insufficient to pay the cost of rentals, it would not matter. Without bothering to investigate someone would say the shufflers are a
needed protection against counters. Case closed.

But do not let that defer you from a noble task. Every once in a while someone in management will actually listen and take the
appropriate action. Usually somebody who started at ground level instead of walking in the door with a degree. I often would go
to Bedminster, NJ , AT&T corporate HQ , along with my second level manager.

If we got lucky the new plan they had, was one tried and failed in the past. And we headed back in Denver in a day. If it was off
the wall, we might have to stay 3 days to talk them out of it. We were 3 for 3 over the years, Then AT&T came up with something
called process owners. Now NJ called the shots and nothing was decided at the local level. Talk about bureaucracy.

I had a buddy who thought BUREAUCRACY was nature's way of killing a successful business.
Shed not for her the bitter tear Nor give the heart to vain regret Tis but the casket that lies here, The gem that filled it Sparkles yet
Face
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Face
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December 2nd, 2012 at 5:59:41 PM permalink
Don Quixote de la Mancha, I am familiar =)

This won't be the first time I've something like this, nor the first time I've been told I'm wasting my time. Even with that shuffle audit, only one person had my back with a whole bunch wondering just wtf I was doing. In the end, I knocked it out of the park. Made a name for myself, justified my position, and effected change.

Perhaps this won't work out like last time. Maybe my hunch is garbage, maybe it's not as big a deal as it feels, or maybe it is, but no one cares. All of these are possible, maybe even probable. But I don't know, this is just how I am. You gotta stand up for what you believe in, you have to take action on your thoughts. To not do so for fear of "wasting time" or failing to influence the bureaucracy is only cheating yourself. At the very, very worst, I'll at least have the satisfaction that I went above and beyond, took it outside the box, and learned a great deal in the process. Who knows, maybe I'll knock it out of the park again. Further my personal developement and name recognition, increase casino revenue, justify my "non revenue generating, budget sucking" department, and get the hated shuffle machines out of the player's faces. Regardless of how bad it may fall on it's face, it will most definitely be an eye opening, learning experience.

You know how good it feels to be right and effect change. So I'm going to do it, even if I have to start out with generalizations as to costs like I did the first audit. I just hope in the time being, the appropriate person sees this and can point me in the right direction.
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dwheatley
dwheatley
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December 2nd, 2012 at 8:52:09 PM permalink
I don't know how much these machines cost to lease, but my impression from playing is that ASMs are pretty good. They are great for shuffling 6-8 deck BJ and baccarat shoes, and they are reasonably reliable for shuffling all single-deck games when there are 2 decks in play.

CSMs are used to defeat counters, but the general populace seems to be suspicious of them, so that is a real gray area. Tough to measure the cost of a CSM if it is driving customers away.

I am not sure in either case you have a strong argument for doing away with them. What is the alternative, hand shuffles? A single deck hand shuffle is too easy to game by a conspiring dealer. A multi-deck hand shuffle takes way too long. Based only on my playing experience, I think that ASMs own the near future of table games.
Wisdom is the quality that keeps you out of situations where you would otherwise need it
Face
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Face
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December 2nd, 2012 at 10:36:40 PM permalink
Quote: dwheatley

I am not sure in either case you have a strong argument for doing away with them.



I wasn't either. To be completely honest, I'm still not sure.

But I've had my eye on them since they came in. Some things I've noticed...

Breakdowns - If our previous amount of shufflers broke down X number of times in a week, then adding five times as many shufflers should mean 5X breakdowns. For whatever reason, it's above 5X. Breakdowns, to me, seem rampant. Due to my audit, I have a good idea of how much a certain table brings in per minute. With breakdowns requiring a complete disassembly of the machine, retrieval of jammed cards, replacing of decks, repairs are taking at minimum 5-7 minutes to fix. Some as much as 15 minutes to a half hour, all told. We even had to shut a game down, because 5 or 6 went down within an hour, and the techs couldn't get them fixed and back to the tables in time. That's a big deal to me and a lot of money lost, to say nothing of the cost of going through decks faster due to the damage, and I've seen a not incosiderable sum of patrons leave the table rather than wait.

Maintenance - I'm the personnel guy. I know every single person in the casino. We've gotten 4 or 5 new techs, yet haven't increased slot space, haven't lost old techs. There is no conceivable reason we have more other than the added workload of servicing these machines. 4 tech salaries plus free benefits is a considerable sum of cash.

Shufflers - I know these things run $25,000ish. That's a tick under $1mm total for our place, if we've bought them all.

Purpose - The six deck ASMs, at a glance, seem to provide no noticeable difference in shuffle time. To me, I see ~$125,000 spent for no reason whatsoever, with the added "pleasure" of having them break down, turning what would be a quick, 2 minute hand shuffle, into a 30 minute cluster.

As far as game protection, that was a big part of my shuffle audit. Sure, a CSM eliminates the counter threat. But at what cost? On the manual side, we have an undetermined chance of losing an undetermined amount of money from AP. On the automated side, we have a 100% guaranteed chance of losing a definable amount of money on cost, maintenance, and break downs. My goal is to put a value on the 100% guaranteed loss of automation and ask the common sense question - Is It Worth It?

Perhaps, when all is said and done, it will be found that it is worth it. But after the absolute shock many of us felt at seeing the numbers from my shuffle audit, I feel I must do this. I think I've already shown that corporate doesn't always do their homework, so I'm going check up on them again. In the end, I just gotta know.

"Knowing is half the battle"
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DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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December 3rd, 2012 at 7:10:46 AM permalink
A noble cause indeed. Good luck with it.


As far as the monthly rental cost goes, why can't you get that from your own accounting department? Frankly, the price any casino pays is probably negotiated when the contract is signed, so you won't find it listed on the internet. Or if you do find it online, that ptice would be the suggested price that nobody pays, causing your report to be skewed.

And your maintenance personnel issue surprises me. It was my understanding that the shufflers are not sold, or rented - only leased, with a maintenance contract included. That said, are the maintenance personnel your own, or ShuffleMaster employees that are always on site?
I invented a few casino games. Info: http://www.DaveMillerGaming.com/ 覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧 Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
Face
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Face
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December 3rd, 2012 at 12:50:35 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

A noble cause indeed. Good luck with it.



Thanks, DJ =)

Quote: DJTeddyBear

As far as the monthly rental cost goes, why can't you get that from your own accounting department? Frankly, the price any casino pays is probably negotiated when the contract is signed, so you won't find it listed on the internet. Or if you do find it online, that ptice would be the suggested price that nobody pays, causing your report to be skewed.



Not knowing or even trusting a list price online is why I came here. As far as contacting Table Games or Accounting...

Due to my work history, I've been kind of unleashed, allowed to forsake what falls directly under my responsibilities and branch out into stuff like this. But I have a chain of command I must follow, and I've had to been reeled back in before for going a little too far. Unfortunately, due to contract expirations and the seeking of other employment, my chain doesn't exist at the moment. Rather than jump right away into the land of "too far", I've reached out to a few contacts I have, and came here =)

Quote: DJTeddyBear

And your maintenance personnel issue surprises me. It was my understanding that the shufflers are not sold, or rented - only leased, with a maintenance contract included. That said, are the maintenance personnel your own, or ShuffleMaster employees that are always on site?



I likewise assumed they're leased since I also heard they aren't sold anymore, but a few rumors from those I asked made me think they were bought. In any case, I don't think it's ShuffleMaster personnel that are doing the maintenance. These guys are on our payroll as Slot Technicians, they're from this area, they work on jackpot verifications, RAM clears, slot projects, and machine maintenance for Bally and IGT games, in addition to the shuffler stuff. So unless the ShuffleMaster maintenance contract includes all that stuff, I'm pretty sure they're our guys.
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dwheatley
dwheatley
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December 3rd, 2012 at 1:13:59 PM permalink
The 6-8 deck ASMs I see at my casinos can shuffle a shoe while another is in play. The shuffle time is parallel to playing time, so that the down time involves the act of inserting a shoe and taking out the other one and takes ~30 seconds. If you have this device, I'm pretty sure it's saving you money.

Same thing with the single-deck ASMs. When they jam, this causes delays occasionally, but i've only once seen a full break down. The dealer was told to switch to a hand shuffle while they brought in another device.
Wisdom is the quality that keeps you out of situations where you would otherwise need it
Face
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December 3rd, 2012 at 1:51:36 PM permalink
Quote: dwheatley

The 6-8 deck ASMs I see at my casinos can shuffle a shoe while another is in play. The shuffle time is parallel to playing time, so that the down time involves the act of inserting a shoe and taking out the other one and takes ~30 seconds. If you have this device, I'm pretty sure it's saving you money.



Yessir. Shufflemaster MD3's are what we have in high limit, and they're just as you described. Without a doubt it's faster, taking roughly 25%-50% of the time a manual shuffle does.

On the surface and in a perfect world, it's no question. But figuring in failures, the downtime that results, the maintenance load, and payroll and leasing fees involved, how much "better" is it? Is it even better at all? Could the gain from more hands per hour played overcome these downfalls? That's what I aim to find out.
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